Follow along and take notes on the who, what, when, where, and historical significance for each major key term.

  • The “Migrant City”
  • The “Black Promised Land”
  • W.E.B. DuBois
  • The “color line”
  • de facto segregation
  • The Watts Rebellion (1965)
  • The Black Panther Party
  • Crack (or “rock”) cocaine
  • 1984 Olympic Games
  • LAPD
  • Daryl Gates
  • Tom Bradley
  • Gang “affiliates” and “associates”
  • The battering ram armored vehicle
  • Toddy Tee
  • Mixmaster Spade
  • “street tapes”
  • “The Batterram” (first version)
  • “The Batterram” (second version)
  • KDAY radio
  • “gangster rap”


Primary Source: Opening Scene of Straight Outta Compton 

Primary Source: “Rappin’ Duke” by Shawn Brown (1984) 

Primary Source: Toddy Tee – The Batterram (1985, O.G., street tape)


Toddy Tee, The Batterram (Evejim Records, 1985; produced by Leon Haywood)

Primary Source: Leon Haywood, “I Wanna Do Something Freaky To You”

Primary Source Discussion Questions for “The Batterram”

  1. Compare and contrast the first and second versions of Toddy Tee’s “Batterram.” How are these two versions the same song, and how are they distinct?
  2. Why do you think Toddy Tee’s original homemade taped version of The Batterram was such a bit hit on the streets of LA in 1985?
  3. How do Toddy Tee’s “Batterram” lyrics about, for instance, the police, drug trafficking, and hardship compare to the lyrics of contemporary LA rappers? (Some artists to consider: Roddy Ricch, YG, Nipsey Hussle, Kendrick Lamar, ScHoolboy Q

Additional Photography Primary Sources 

Recommended Reading 

Felicia Angeja Viator is Assistant Professor of History at San Francisco State University. Before teaching she was known as "DJ Neta," one of the first women DJs in the Bay Area's hip-hop and dancehall scenes. That perspective has informed her research and helped her write with authority about music culture. Her acclaimed book To Live and Defy in LA: How Gangsta Rap Changed America––the first book about rap ever published by Harvard University Press––is a history of hip-hop’s commercial trajectory. It is also a story about Los Angeles myths, bad cops, punk rock panics, MTV, and so much drama in the LBC.